When I was a kid we had a ton of books. There was one story that I especially loved called Mischief in Fez, which was full of djinns, and animals that could talk and shape shift, and of course, lots of mischief and guess where it was??
I didn’t even know Fez was an actual place until I was much, much older. (Embarrassingly older, like mid-twenties.) However, when my sister was living in the south of Spain and we had the opportunity to plan a quick trip to Morocco, naturally we made a beeline to Fez.
We took the ferry from Malaga, Spain to Tangier, Morocco and boarded a train to Fez, which is not as well touristed as some of the other cities in Morocco like Marrakesh and Casablanca. On the train a young man sat next to us and talked about maps and his architecture degree and some other random things. When he got up to go to the restroom a couple of other guys quickly came up to us to express their concern that we were being conned. I’m not 100% sure how the first fellow was trying to con us (maybe it hadn’t happened yet) but the other two guys weren’t helping matters as they seemed like the more suspicious characters. In the end, we stared blankly enough at all of them that whoever was conning whom must have moved on to likelier prospects.
Eventually, we made it to our riad, after a winding, maze-like trek into the old town.
The courtyard of our riad was super charming, and the proprietors were exceedingly welcoming and nice! They gave us refreshing cold tea when we arrived and we had a delicious breakfast there the next morning.
Our room however, was unbearable. There was only one window and it was a small one, just above our door – opening at a slant, toward the inner courtyard. We had no fan, no breeze, no air conditioning; and the nights were HOT.
Before bed we hosed ourselves off in the shower so we could get in bed with wet hair. Yep, our shower was a hose: a single hose in the same room with the toilet. No water pressure or anything, just, you know – a garden hose.
It’s fine! We weren’t there to hang in the room anyway.
Fez has an ‘old town’ which is made up of narrow lanes, traditional architecture, gurgling tiled fountains, market stalls, stray animals, and all the other things you think an old world city would be made up of.
There’s no specific dress code for visitor’s and we weren’t expected to cover up completely. But we were encouraged to dress conservatively to avoid drawing attention to ourselves, especially in the old town. So we wore pants under dresses and made sure to keep our shoulders covered. After all, when in Rome…I mean, Fez…
The ‘new town’ (aka the city) didn’t feel all that special to me but we also didn’t spend a lot of time in it as we’d opted to stay in a traditional riad which are mostly in the old town.
We did go to a spa there and that experience was anything but ordinary. You can read about it here.
Also, everything in Fez is super blurry and out of focus. Couldn’t be my camera skillz, must be a mischievous djinn at work. 😉